v. Freedom Fighting: Is there a difference?
a Definition of Terrorism that Allows for Freedom Fighting
Fall 2006 Semester
Terrorism v. Freedom Fighting: Is there a difference?
Creating a definition of
Terrorism that allows for Freedom Fighting
By: Brad Schneiderman
issue in today’s world is of greater importance than that of terrorism. Afterall, the United States is the main advocate in
the “war on terror”. But the question
remains, what is terrorism? The United States has defined it as “the calculated
use or threat of violence to inculcate fear, intended to coerce or intimidate
governments or societies,” while the UK has defined it as “the use or
threat, for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological
course of action, or serious violence against any person or property.” If a government wanted to take a hard stance
against terrorism, surely the definition of the concept should be more complex
than a mere sentence. Some may argue
that the United States’ definition leaves the door open for interpretation
intentionally, so that our government has the power to label an organization as
a terrorist, or on the contrary exclude an organization from being labeled as a
terrorist. For example, during the Cold
War, the term ‘freedom fighter’ was widely used by the United States to
describe rebels in countries controlled by Communist states or otherwise under
the influence of the Soviet Union, including rebels in Hungary, the
anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua, UNITA in Angola and the multi-factional
Mujahideen in Afghanistan. ‘Rebels’ of the same nature in modern day Iraq or Israel,
however, have been labeled as terrorists by the same United States. There are a variety of policy reasons as to
why the United States
would have an interest in labeling an organization a terrorist or freedom
fighter, but the focus of this paper will concentrate on the importance of creating
a more accurate definition of terrorism.
If a detailed definition of terrorism
were established, perhaps the international community could unite in a more
effective manner in its fight against terrorism. The key goal of this definition would be to
distinguish terrorism from mere criminal violence, military action or freedom
fighting. The new definition of
terrorism would be included in a proposed treaty, which would authorize an International Labeling Tribunal (a fictitious international
tribunal) to label an organization a terrorist or freedom fighter. The treaty would do so by obligating national
courts of signatory countries to apply ILT determinations. The ILT will also be authorized to
characterize the conduct of a non-signatory, but the non-signatory would not be
bound to recognize that characterization in its own courts. Giving the ILT the power to
characterize the conduct of a non-signatory is another way of assuring no
organization is safe from being labeled a terrorist and furthermore, no
organization is free from the repercussions that go along with being labeled a
proposed treaty will adapt a United
States definition of terrorism into an
international setting so the world can unite in its fight on terrorism, as
opposed to a superpower acting on who it declares is and is not a terrorist
organization. In order to come up with a
better definition of terrorism there are a variety of elements that need to be
included in the treaty, such as the methods of violence used by an
organization, the overall goals of the organization, how the organization is
funded and any peaceful efforts made by the organization. In constructing the treaty, it may be
beneficial for the drafting committee to look at previous organizations that
were deemed to be terrorists or freedom fighters, apply the new definition of
terrorism to those organizations and see if the resulting label is
consistent. The final section of this
paper will have the ILT review a hypothetical organization under
the treaty and provide a verdict: terrorist organization or freedom fighting
organization? However, before any of
that is done, an international terrorism treaty must be agreed upon. That is why this paper creates a treaty that
defines terrorism, but allows freedom fighting.
Proposed Treaty: Defining
In coming up with a definition of terrorism the drafting
committee will use the United
States definition as a starting point and
expand on areas that need more detail.
States definition of terrorism is as
(1) the term "international terrorism" means activities that -
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that
are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of
any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed
within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended -
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by
intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass
destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of
the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of
the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they
appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which
their perpetrators operate or seek asylum;
The proposed Treaty is set up as a
series of prongs that factor into whether the
International Labeling Tribunal (ILT) decides to label an organization a
terrorist or not. It is the job of the
international tribunal to assess which prongs get the most weight in any given
circumstance. For example, an incident
may occur where an organization uses force or violence, but does not target
civilians; rather is using that force or violence only against an oppressive
government. In this circumstance, an
international tribunal would label the organization as freedom fighters as
opposed to terrorists. Additionally, any
action taken by a State against an organization that was labeled by the ILT to
be terrorists is privileged under this treaty.
A diagram can be found below that attempts to clarify any uncertainty
regarding the treaty. It is important to
note that the diagram is not a binding portion of the treaty, but a guide to
help readers better understand what factors lead to the labeling of an
organization as terrorists or freedom fighters.
Article of the Treaty
Article 1: Use of Terms
the purposes of this proposal:
means an international agreement concluded between States in written form
and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single
instrument or in two or more related instruments whatever its particular
‘acceptance’, ‘approval’, and ‘accession’ mean in each case the
international act so named whereby a State establishes on the
international plane its consent to be bound by a treaty;
means a group of people consciously cooperating with an explicit purpose.
are any people excluding members of the military or government officials.
provisions of paragraph 1 regarding the use of terms in the present Treaty
Proposal are without prejudice to the use of those terms or to the
meanings which may be given to them in the internal law of any State.
Article 2: Defining Terrorism
The term terrorism
means activities that-
violent acts or the threat of violent acts that are in violation of the
criminal laws of the United
States, or of the state in which the
violence occurs, or are in violation of international humanitarian laws;
Humanitarian Laws consist of:
Conventions of 1949,
Statutes of the International Criminal Courts.
the acts of violence target women and children it shall be more likely
the organization will be labeled a terrorist.
the acts of violence target high ranking men within the community, the
organization may or may not be deemed a terrorist, depending on the
methods used to execute the violence.
the acts of violence extend beyond the country’s boundaries, the conduct
shall be deemed terrorist.
intimidate or coerce a civilian population; or
influence the policy of another government by intimidation or coercion;
affect the conduct of a government by using the methods of assassinations,
torturing, bombings, kidnappings, and causing mass destruction.
Article 3: Oppressive Governments
to oppressive governments shall be deemed freedom fighting and not
shall not be deemed to be oppressive because they do not afford their
people the same rights that United States citizens are
shall not be deemed to be oppressive because they are not
oppressive government is one in which the government openly discriminates
against a group of people because of their race, religion, sex, etc. and
furthermore, acts on that discrimination in unethical ways.
would include, but not be limited to, the government authorization of
executions, imprisonment, torture, rape, and other forms of humiliation.
goal to overthrow an oppressive government is permitted under this Treaty,
but the methods used to accomplish that goal are still to be considered.
should not be targeted in any attack against an oppressive government.
goal to overthrow a government based on ideological or religious
differences is not permitted.
Article 4: Methods to be
of a leader/high ranking official is not permitted unless that leader/high
ranking official controls an oppressive government and the assassination
is conducted by freedom fighters from within the country’s boundaries.
is not permissible for another country or an organization located in
another country to deem a government oppressive, and assassinate its
leader without taking the proper remedial measures including:
The showing of the oppressive leader’s threat to the
world or specified nation,
Presenting evidence of the leader’s oppressive
government to the International Labeling Tribunal,
Efforts to convince the leader to stop their oppressive
Warning the leader to stop their oppressive tactics,
Gaining the international community’s acceptance to
declare war against the oppressive government.
is only permissible under this treaty for an organization to assassinate high
ranking government officials or people of their ilk if that government is
deemed to be oppressive and if the assassination occurs within the country’s
provides the target with the opportunity to peacefully give up his/her position
and exit the Country.
fighters must not use violence or other acts of aggression outside of their own
use of torture shall not be permitted.
the use of torture is being committed to prevent future terrorist acts by
gaining information about another organization, it may be permitted under
use of torture to “send a message” or “prove a point”, however, is never
execution of bombings.
the event that countries or people are at war, non-suicide bombings shall not
play a part in determining whether the acts of violence are to be considered
day suicide bombings (“MDSB”) are not permitted. MDSB are deliberate attacks of a civilian
targeting of a civilian population in the use of any bombing will be deemed a
terrorist act. During war, suicide
bombings against the opposition are permissible under this Treaty, so long as
you do not target civilians.
kidnapping of people from outside your boundaries is not permitted.
kidnapping of non-civilians from within your boundaries is only permitted in
the event that your government is deemed to be oppressive.
put out of existence or ruin a structure.
Article 5: Establishing the International Labeling Tribunal
The International Labeling Tribunal
(“the ILT”) is hereby
established. It shall be a permanent
institution and shall have the power to exercise its jurisdiction over
persons/organizations that violate this Treaty and shall be complementary to
national criminal jurisdictions.
Article 6: Relationship with the International Criminal Court
This tribunal will provide the
ICC with any determinations made about an organization that is involved in a
pending case before the ICC.
Article 7: Seat of the Tribunal
seat of the Tribunal shall be established at The Hague
in the Netherlands.
Tribunal shall enter into a headquarters agreement with the Netherlands,
to be approved by Signatory’s and thereafter concluded by the President of
the Tribunal on its behalf.
Tribunal may sit elsewhere, whenever it considers it desirable, as
provided in this Treaty.
Article 8: Legal Status
Tribunal shall have international legal personality. It shall also have such legal capacity as may
be necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfillment of its
Article 9: Other Factors to be Considered by the ILT
In determining whether an organization is a terrorist, the ILT shall assess:
the organization is funded;
the funds have illegal origins?
the funds non-transparent?
the overall goal of the organization is; and
peaceful efforts made by the organization to accomplish those goals.
efforts against an oppressive government should be taken before any use
of force or violence.
organization’s attempts for peace with a non-oppressive government shall
be taken into consideration.
Article 10: Application of the Treaty
of this treaty shall give the ILT authorization
to review any organization within the signatory’s boundaries.
- This treaty
shall bind any signatory to adhere by the ILT findings.
the ILT rules that a signatory has a terrorist organization
within its boundaries; that organization will be subject to punishment by
the signatory’s national courts or
International Criminal Court (ICC).
- The treaty
authorizes the ILT to characterize the conduct of
an organization within the boundaries of a non-signatory, but the
non-signatory would not be bound to recognize that characterization in its
Article 11: Organs of the Tribunal
The Tribunal shall be comprised of the following organs:
Appeals Division, a Trial Division and a Pre-trial Division;
Office of the Prosecutor; and
Article 12: Service of Judges
All judges shall be elected as
full-time members of the Tribunal and shall be available to serve on that basis
from the commencement of their terms of office.
Article 13: Qualifications, Nominations, and Election of Judges
shall be 11 Judges of the Tribunal.
Although each judge shall be considered a full-time member of the
Tribunal, their Bench terms will be 6 years each from the time of
Judges shall be chosen from persons of high moral character, impartiality
and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective
States for appointment to the highest judicial offices.
candidate for election to the Tribunal shall:
Have established competence in criminal law and
procedure, and the necessary relevant experience, whether as judge, prosecutor,
advocate, or in other similar capacity, in criminal proceedings; or
Have established competence in relevant areas of
international law such as international humanitarian law and the law of human
candidate for election to the Tribunal shall have excellent knowledge in
the field of terrorism and be fluent in at least one of the working
languages of the Tribunal.
of candidates for election to this Tribunal may be made by any signatory
party to this Treaty, and shall be made either:
the procedure for the nomination of the candidates for appointment to the
highest judicial offices in the Signatory in question; or
the procedure provided for the nomination of candidates for the
International Court of Justice in the Statute of that Court.
Signatory State can nominate one candidate
signatory shall have more than 3 Judges on the Tribunal at any time.
nominations shall include the necessary detail specifying how the
candidate fulfills the requirements of paragraph 2.
judges shall be elected by secret ballot at a meeting of the Assembly of
Signatory States. The person(s)
elected to the Tribunal shall be the candidate(s) which receive the
highest number of votes from the Signatory States. Each Signatory gets one vote.
Article 14: Scope
are not eligible to be declared terrorists under this Treaty.
Non-state organizations shall be reviewed by the ILT.
***Please refer to the Diagram on the following page as a
reference for this treaty***
to be considered by the International Labeling Tribunal in
determining whether an organization is a terrorist or not:
Application to Previous Organizations
The Lehi Group
Also known as the “The Stern Gang”
(after its first commander, Avraham Stern) the Lehi Group was created in 1939
as an armed underground Zionist faction in Palestine . The organization’s main cause was the
eviction of British troops from Palestine. In fact, the Lehi Group encouraged the Jewish
population to fight the British, rather than support them, in World War II. There were 3 main goals of the organization:
To bring together all those interested in
liberation (that is, those willing to join in active fighting against the
To appear before the world as the only active
Jewish military organization; and
To take over the land of Israel
by armed force.
The group believed that its goals would be achieved by
finding a strong international ally that would expel the British from Palestine in return for
help from the Jewish military. In order to accomplish their goals, the
formation of an organized Jewish military force was required. Avraham Stern stressed that Lehi’s actions
were not directed against the civilian population, but against British
representatives of those people. He crystallized the ideology of the
organization in what was referred to as the “18 Principles of Rebirth” which
can be found in Appendix A.
The organization viewed the British
as an oppressive government and found Britain’s restrictions on Jewish
immigration to be an intolerable breach of international law. One of the Lehi Groups tactics was
assassinating (approximately 42) British soldiers/police officers and Jews that
were deemed to be traitors. The Lehi group would also sabotage
infrastructure targets such as bridges, railroads and oil refineries. In 1948, the Lehi Group bombed the
Cairo-Haifa train station leaving 68 dead and another 95 wounded. Additionally, the Lehi Group was responsible
for the Deir Yassin massacre in which 100 to 120 villagers were killed. Allegedly, the victims of that massacre were
comprised of the elderly, women and children. The Lehi group was the first organization to use
mail bombs in targeting British politicians.
Financing for the Lehi Group was
provided by private donations, extortion and bank robberies. The organization was dissolved in 1948 when
the Jewish people were awarded Israel
in the wake of WWII. Seeing as the main goal of the Lehi Group was
to eliminate the British occupation of Palestine
to enable the formation of a Jewish State, some may argue that the organization
turned out to be a success. But while
active, British authorities labeled the Lehi Group as a terrorist organization. The question before the drafting committee is,
would that label be consistent under the newly adopted treaty?
In order to
answer this question the drafting committee must determine whether the British
Authorities, which were occupying Palestine,
could be deemed an oppressive government or not. This is because the Lehi Group did violate Articles 2(1) and 2(2)(B) and (C) in the “use
of violent acts that were in violation of the state in which the violence
occurred; that were intended to influence the policy of another government by
intimidation or coercion; and to affect the conduct of a government by mass
destruction, assassination, and the use of bombings”. The Lehi Group utilized methods of violence
such as assassinations and bombings in their attempt to overthrow the British
Authorities of Palestine. These methods
are to be considered under Articles 4(1)
and 4(3) of the Treaty.
Under Article 3(2) of the proposed
treaty, “an oppressive government is one in which the government openly
discriminates against a group of people because of their race, religion, sex
etc. and acts on that discrimination in unethical ways.” While the British Authorities in Palestine were
discriminating against Jews by restricting their immigration, they were “not
authorizing the executions, imprisonment, torture, rape, or other forms of
humiliation” of the Jews. (Article 3(3)). One could make the argument that the British
authorities were financially controlling the Jews assets by limiting their
immigration and thus, may be deemed an oppressive government, but it is likely
this argument would fail because if an oppressive government is one which
imposes immigration limitations, than the entire world is living under some
form of an oppressive government. Nevertheless,
the Lehi Group targeted a civilian population, including women and children, in
the Deir Yassin massacre, which is to be given more weight under Article 2 (1)(B). Furthermore, the organization does not fair
well under Article 9(1)(a), (2), and
(3) because the Lehi Group was
funded by robberies, its chief goal was to overthrow a non-oppressive
government and there were no peaceful efforts made by the organization to
achieve its goals. The drafting committee does note the
uniqueness of this situation in that a Jewish state was created in the form of Israel (which
happened to be the Lehi Group’s main goal), but still deems the Lehi group to
be a TERRORIST organization because
of the forgoing reasons.
Irish Republican Army
Also known as the PIRA or IRA,
the Provisional Irish Republican Army was a paramilitary organization which
sought to end Northern Ireland’s
status within the United
Kingdom and bring about a United Ireland by
the use of violence. Since its 1969 emergence, the IRA’s stated
claim has been to overthrow Northern Ireland
and the Republic
of Ireland and replace
them with a sovereign, socialist all-island Irish state. The IRA views itself as a continuation of the
Irish Republican Army (1919-1922), which fought in the Irish War of
Independence. The organization considered the British rule
in Northern Ireland and the
government of the Republic
of Ireland to be
oppressive and illegitimate. The IRA’s initial strategy was to use as much
force as possible to cause the collapse of the Northern Ireland administration.
the British secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, was
able to secure a ceasefire with the IRA until January of the following year. The end of that ceasefire prompted the “Long
War”. The IRA believed this was a war of attrition focused
on causing as many deaths as possible so that the British population would
demand for a British removal of Northern
Ireland. To sustain the war and gain support for its
ends the IRA used National and International propaganda including publicity campaigns. The organization also utilized bombings as a
method of violence in an effort to weaken the enemy’s financial interests in Northern Ireland. Additionally, the organization implemented a
law of their own where the IRA would govern and punish criminals within their communities. This practice was more commonly referred to as
In 1981 captured IRA members began
using tactics such as hunger strikes in order to garner support and sympathy
from the people of Ireland. This method proved effective as over 100,000
people attended the first person to die by a hunger strike’s funeral. The IRA obtained its financial backing from a
variety of places including robberies and kidnappings. It is estimated that the IRA is responsible
for 1,800 deaths since 1969. “Due to the IRA’s frequent use of bombs; its
killing of hundreds of policemen, soldiers, loyalist paramilitaries, and
civilians throughout Northern Ireland and in other countries, its role in
racketeering, bank robberies, ‘street justice/policing’ and the fact that the
unionist majority in Northern Ireland wanted to continue living under British
Rule, the IRA was deemed a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom”, but
to this day insists the organization should be considered freedom fighters. On July 28, 2005, the IRA announced an end to
its armed campaign and has thus far adhered to it. The question before the drafting committee is,
under the newly adopted treaty would the IRA still be considered a terrorist
violated Article 2(1) and 2(2)(A), (B) and (C) in utilizing
“violent acts that were in violation of the state in which the violence
occurred; that were intended to intimidate a civilian population, to influence
the policy of another government by intimidation and to affect the conduct of a
government by utilizing assassinations, bombings and kidnappings.” As a result of this violation, the drafting
committee must determine whether the government of Ireland was oppressive. Under Article
3(2) of the Treaty, “An oppressive government is one in which the
government openly discriminates against a group of people because of their
race, religion, or sex and furthermore, acts on that discrimination in
unethical ways”. Members of the IRA have
long argued that British discrimination of Roman Catholics has led to the
conflict in Northern Ireland. Additionally, the IRA believes that Ireland is economically disadvantaged under the United Kingdom’s
control, which is why the organization has fought for independence so
adamantly. While the drafting committee does recognize the
argument that Roman Catholics were unfairly discriminated against by British
rule, the methods of violence utilized by the IRA makes the matter of whether
the government can be considered oppressive moot. Even in the event that the government were to
be deemed oppressive, the IRA violated Article
3(4)(a) in targeting civilians. In fact, of the estimated 1800 deaths the IRA
is responsible for, between 600 and 650 were civilians. Additionally, the IRA utilized methods of
violence including assassinations, bombings and kidnappings under Article 4(1), (3), and (4), which shall be considered under
Furthermore, the IRA utilized
activities such as “Policing” and robberies in order to raise funds which
violates Article 9(1)(a) of the
drafting committee does recognize the IRA’s efforts for peace, which shall be
considered under Article 9(3), but
still views the group as a TERRORIST organization
because of the methods of violence, and targets of violence utilized by the IRA.
3. Zapatista Army of National Liberation
as the EZLN (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional), the Zapatistas are an
armed revolutionary group based in Chiapas,
Mexico. The Chiapas
region is regarded as one of the poorest in the country of Mexico. The Zapatistas have been characterized as the
first “post-modern” revolution, meaning that they are an armed, yet non-violent
revolutionary group that incorporates modern technologies like satellite
telephones and the internet as a way to obtain domestic and foreign support. They take their name from Mexican
revolutionary Emiliano Zapata who became infamous for his fight against
current Zapatistas view themself as Emiliano’s ideological heirs.
Zapatistas differ from other armed
revolutionary movements in that their goal was not to overthrow the Mexican
Government, but to call to the world’s attention the large wealth distribution
disparity of Chiapas,
and to protest the signing of the Northern Atlantic Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) in 1994. The Zapatistas believe that the signing of NAFTA
would only intensify the gap between the rich and the poor in Chiapas and thus, protested it heavily. While the EZLN did not seek independence from
Mexico, they did desire
autonomy and demanded that the natural resources which were extracted from the Chiapas region benefit the people of Chiapas. The EZLN initially used violence in 1994, but
after a unilateral ceasefire was adopted no further battles ensued.
signing of the Northern Atlantic Free Trade Agreement in 1994, members of the
EZLN dressed in black ski masks and red bandanas took over five municipalities
in Chiapas resulting in dozens of casualties
in and around the city of Ocosingo. Shortly thereafter the Zapatistas officially
declared war against the Mexican government and announced its plan to march
towards Mexico City
to either defeat the Mexican army or allow it to surrender. Although the threat was issued, the actual
“march” did not occur because of the ceasefire agreement that was reached. The Zapatistas main issue with the Mexican
government was the distribution of the country’s potable water supply. Over 90% of Mexico’s
portable water came from Chiapas, yet many
communities within Chiapas
did not have access to fresh water.
The EZLN released documents to the
public defining a right of the people to:
“demand that the revolutionary armed forces not intervene in matters of
civil order or the disposition of capital relating to agriculture, commerce,
finances, and industry, as these are the exclusive domain of the civil
authorities, elected freely and democratically.
People should acquire and possess arms to defend their persons, families
and property, according to the laws of disposition of capital of farms,
commerce, finance and industry, against the armed attacks committed by the
revolutionary forces or those of the government.” By August of 2003 the municipalities
containing Zapatistas were recognized by the Mexican government as “Juntas,”
which implemented communitarian food-producing programs as well as health and
school systems. The once renegade EZLN municipalities were
then tolerated by the government despite being a state within a state.
In 2006 the EZLN saw a need to
alter their approach and began a new tour encompassing all 31 Mexican states,
proposing to unite with “workers, farmers, students, teachers, and employees;
the workers of the city and the countryside” through a non-electoral front to
talk and collectively write a new constitution in order to establish a new
political culture. The question before the drafting committee is
would the Zapatistas be considered a freedom fighting organization under the
newly adopted treaty?
The EZLN mostly utilized the threat
of violence as opposed to the actual use of violence. However, there were casualties that resulted
from the Zapatistas quest for autonomy from the Mexican government. Therefore, it appears that the EZLN did
violate Article 2(1), 2(2)(A) and (B) of the Treaty in using “violent
acts in violation of the criminal laws of Mexico which were intended to
intimidate or coerce a civilian population and to influence the policy of their
government by intimidation or coercion.” It should be noted, however, that the
EZLN did not violate Article 2(2)(C) in
avoiding the use of mass destruction, assassinations, torture, bombings, or
kidnappings as methods of violence. This
distinction separates the Zapatistas from previous organizations like the Lehi
Group or IRA. The Zapatistas primarily
used the threat of violence in an effort to change the Mexican’s governments
handling of the Chiapas
region and to protest the NAFTA agreement of 1994. This committee views the threat of violence
in a more favorable light than the actual use of violence.
9(1), (2), and (3) of the Treaty how the organization is funded; what
the overall goal of the organization is and the peaceful efforts made to
accomplish those goals shall be considered.
There is no evidence that the Zapatistas
were funded by corruption, but this is not to say the EZLN was obtaining its
money in a legal manner. The drafting
committee therefore believes that Article
9(1) is of little significance in determining the Zapatistas categorization. However, the overall goal and the peaceful
efforts made by the EZLN to accomplish those goals are of great
significance. The overall goal of the
EZLN was to stop the Mexican government’s imperialistic tactics, which were in
the Zapatistas minds, oppressing the people of Mexico. Article
3(2) states that “an oppressive government is one in which the government
openly discriminates against a group of people because of their race, religion,
sex etc. and furthermore, acts on that discrimination in unethical ways. Although the Mexican government might not be
discriminating against a group of people because of their race, religion or
sex, this drafting committee does recognize that some of the policies,
including the potable water supply distribution, oppressed the people of Mexico. Therefore under Article 3(1), “opposition to oppressive governments shall be deemed
freedom fighting and not terrorism.” And
seeing as the EZLN made peaceful efforts to negotiate with the oppressive
government, the drafting committee views the Zapatistas as FREEDOM FIGHTERS.
4. Euskadi Ta Askatsuna (ETA)
ETA, which is Basque for “Basque
Homeland and Freedom”, is a paramilitary Basque nationalist organization whose
goal is to create an independent socialist state which would be located in between
France and Spain. Originally founded in 1959 the organization
quickly evolved from a group advocating traditional cultural ways, to an armed
group fighting for independence. ETA had two primary demands: that the
southern Basque Country (which was under Spanish administration) achieved the
right to self-determination, and the imprisoned ETA members that were awaiting
trial or serving prison sentences be released from Spanish or French prisons.
The ETA organization originated as
a result of the leader of Spain’s
(Francisco Franco) efforts to destroy Basque nationalism. Franco restricted any public expressions of
Basque culture, and banned all expressions of Basque nationalism, including
public display of the nationalist flag, celebrations of nationalist holiday’s,
speaking the Basque language in public and teaching the language in schools. After over four decades of pursuing an
independent socialist state, ETA began to realize the dream of a sovereign
nation was impractical and decided to shift to a more realistic goal. That is why in the 1995 manifesto “democratic
Alternative”, the paramilitary group offered the cessation of all armed
activity if the Spanish government would recognize the Basque people as having
sovereignty over Basque territories. The sovereignty over Basque territories would
create a state within a state, similar to the Zapatistas of Mexico.
ETA tactics included:
warnings, involving telephone calls by ETA members prior to bombing
targets so that people could be evacuated from the area. These calls were sometimes inaccurate
(most likely from the language barrier) which resulted in increased
threats, often delivered in the Basque Country, Navarre,
by placards or graffiti which ultimately forced people into exile or they
would be assassinated;
money, the so-called “revolutionary tax” paid by many businesses in the
Basque Country and in the rest of Spain enforced by the threat
(often as a punishment for failing to pay the protection money); and
to finance their operations.
ETA’s victims have included:
Carrero Blanco, President of the Spanish government under Franco (1973),
of the army and security forces of the Spanish state,
members of city council, sympathizers and partisans of other parties,
of the prison and judicial systems,
professors and journalists, and
Civilians including women and children.
On March 22, 2006 a permanent
ceasefire was established, but on September 23, 2006 ETA announced the
organization will continue to fight until Basque independence is recognized. It is estimated that ETA is responsible for
over 900 deaths and dozens of kidnappings since the organization’s arrival. In 1999, the United States declared that ETA was
a terrorist organization. Would that characterization be consistent
under the newly adopted Treaty?
determination might be the most difficult yet for the drafting committee because
there is evidence of Spain,
acting as an oppressive government. But
does the violence used by the ETA organization and more importantly, the
methods used to execute that violence, outweigh Spain’s oppressive nature against
the Basque people? Under Article 3(2) of the Treaty, “an
oppressive government is one in which the government openly discriminates
against a group of people because of their race, religion and sex and
furthermore, acts on that discrimination in unethical ways. Article
3(3) of the Treaty establishes that acting on the discrimination in
unethical ways “would include, but not be limited to, the government
authorization of executions, imprisonment, torture, rape, and humiliation.” The tactics used by Franco, banning all forms
of Basque nationalism and furthermore, punishing those who displayed Basque
nationalism, clearly is oppressive under Article
3(2) and 3(3) of the Treaty. While “a goal to overthrow an oppressive
government is permitted, the methods used to accomplish that goal are still to
be considered” under Article 3(4) of
the Treaty. There can be no dispute that
the ETA organization did use “violent acts in violation of Spanish laws that
were intended to influence the policy of another government by intimidation or
coercion and to affect the conduct of a government by way of assassinations,
bombings, kidnappings and causing mass destruction” under Articles 2(1), 2(2)(B) and
2(2)(C) of the Treaty. The
drafting committee must therefore evaluate the methods used by the ETA
organization in executing their acts of violence.
that ETA utilized bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and causing mass
destruction as methods of violence means the organization was active in 4 of the
5 methods of violence to be considered under Article 4. More troublesome
are the targets of these acts of violence.
Although some of the targets were affiliated with an oppressive
government, the targeting of judges/lawyers, businessmen, professors, journalists
and random civilians is in direct violation of Article 3(4)(a), “civilians should not be targeted in any attack
against an oppressive government”, and
Article 4(3)(c), “the targeting of a
civilian population in the use of any bombing shall be deemed a terrorist act”.
While the drafting committee will give some discretion to collateral
casualties, it appears that the ETA organization made minimal attempts to avoid
Under Article 9 of the Treaty, other factors to be considered in determining
whether an organization is a terrorist are “how the organization was funded;
what the overall goal of the organization is and the peaceful efforts made to
accomplish those goals.” It appears the ETA organization was
funded through the “Protection Money Revolutionary Tax” imposed on businesses
(where if businessmen declined to pay the tax they were assassinated), in
addition to a myriad of robberies. This type of corrupt funding is to be
considered under Article 9(1)(a) of
the Treaty. While the drafting committee
sympathizes with ETA’s overall goal of an independent Basque state, free from
oppression and discrimination, and do recognize the peaceful efforts made by
ETA to accomplish those goals (relevant under Article 9(3)(a)), the massive violence utilized by the organization
and the methods used in executing that violence is far too great. The drafting committee therefore categorizes
ETA as a TERRORIST organization.
Arabic for “Party of God,”
Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist militant organization located in Lebanon. Founded in 1982 Hezbollah quickly became a
recognized military power within the state of Lebanon. On February 16, 1985 Sheik Ibrahim al-Almin
publicly declared the organization’s manifesto which included three goals: 1. The eradication of Western imperialism in Lebanon; 2. The transformation of Lebanon’s multi-confessional state into an
Islamic state; and 3. The complete destruction of the state of Israel.
Members of Hezbollah receive arms,
training and financial support from Iran,
among other Arab sympathizers, and have “operated with Syria’s blessing.” Initially a militia, Hezbollah has evolved
into an organization which has seats in the Lebanese government, a radio and
satellite television station, and programs for social development.
objective was to end Israel’s
1982 occupation of Southern Lebanon. Israel
had invaded Southern Lebanon as a result of
being attacked by members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The situation escalated into the 1982 Lebanon
War and fueled Hezbollah fight against the Israeli’s. Hezbollah views the territory of the
present-day State of Israel as an inalienable Islamic religious bequest, which
can never be surrendered to non-Muslims. This struggle over the disputed land is more
commonly referred to as Jihad. Having declared “Jihad” against Israel,
Hezbollah justifies the use of its violence as a necessary means of a religious
war. Hezbollah endorses attacks on Israeli
civilians because under Jihad, there is no difference between a combatant and
non-combatant. The secretary general for Hezbollah, Hassan
Nasrallah, has often given speeches in which he defended and praised suicide
bombings of Israeli civilians, including women and children, for “creating a
deterrence and equalizing fear.” He further offered that “in occupied Palestine there is no
difference between a solider and a civilian, for they are all invaders,
occupiers, and usurpers of the land.” Hezbollah is reputed to be among the first
Islamic organizations to use tactical suicide bombings against foreign soldiers
in the Middle East. The groups’ tactics have included
kidnappings, hijackings, and suicide bombings. A human rights organization, Amnesty, has declared
that Hezbollah has committed war crimes against the civilians of Israel. These forgoing facts have led the United States
to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Would that labeling be consistent under the
newly adopted Treaty?
government can not be considered oppressive to members of Hezbollah because Hezbollah
is located in Lebanon and
not within the boundaries of Israel. Despite this fact, Hezbollah continues to
execute acts of violence that are in clear violation of Article 2(1) and Article
2(2)(A), (B), and (C) of the
newly adopted Treaty. The organization
uses “violent acts that are in violation of the laws of Israel as well as
international humanitarian laws that are intended; to intimidate or coerce a
civilian population, to influence the policy of another government by
intimidation or coercion and to affect the conduct of a government by mass
destruction, assassination, torture, bombing and kidnapping.” Additionally,
Hezbollah’s constant targeting of the civilian population violates Article 2(1)(B), “If the acts of
violence target women and children it shall be more likely the organization be
labeled a terrorist”. Under Article 2(1)(D) of the Treaty, “If the acts of violence extend
beyond the country’s boundaries, the conduct shall be deemed terrorist” and
because Hezbollah is located in Lebanon,
their acts of violence against Israel
are acts of terrorism. Furthermore, the
use of suicide bombings to target the civilian population violates Article 4(3)(b) of the Treaty.
Article 4(4)(a) prohibits the kidnapping of people from outside your
boundaries, but Hezbollah has kidnapped Israeli soldiers from across the border
and further violated Article 4(2) by
torturing those who were kidnapped. While the drafting committee recognizes the
Shia’s claim to land they believe is rightfully theirs, the methods of violence
utilized by Hezbollah are unacceptable under the newly adopted Treaty. It is the cumulative effect of the
assassinations, torturing, suicide bombings and kidnappings, and the targets of
these acts of violence, which makes Hezbollah a TERRORIST organization.
Under Article 9 there are other factors to be
considered such as “how the organization is funded; what the overall goal of
the organization is and the peaceful efforts made to accomplish that goal.” In
this case, how the organization is funded is only pertinent because it appears
nations such as Iran and Syria are
funding a terrorist organization. One of the stated goals of Hezbollah has been
“the complete destruction of the state of Israel.” Because Hezbollah is seeking to overthrow the
Israeli government based on ideological and religious differences, the
organization is violating Article
3(4)(b) of the Treaty. Furthermore, it appears that Hezbollah has
made minimal efforts to accomplish the goal of re-obtaining the debated land of Israel in a peaceful manner. These facts further lead the drafting
committee to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement,” Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist
organization located in the city of Gaza, Israel. First established in 1987 by Shaikh Ahmed
Yassin, Hamas quickly became a paramilitary force within Israel’s borders. Hamas’ main goal is similar to that of Hezbollah’s
in that the organization calls for the complete destruction of Israel, and its
replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state. Hamas views the territory of the present-day
State of Israel as an inalienable Islamic religious bequest, which can never be
surrendered to non-Muslims and the organization has therefore declared Jihad
against Israel. Members of Hamas believe it is the religious
duty of every Muslim to retake the land
of Israel. It has been reported that Hamas is funded by Iran, Palestinian expatriates and private
benefactors in Saudi Arabia
and other Arab states.
Hamas’ tactics include
assassinations, suicide bombings, kidnappings, torturing and causing mass
destruction. Because it is mandatory for all men and women
to enlist in the Israeli army, Hamas does not distinguish between combatants
and non-combatants in executing their attacks. One of the deadliest suicide bombings
committed by Hamas came on the first night of the Jewish holiday of Passover in
March of 2002, when the Netanya hotel was bombed, leaving 30 people dead and more
than 140 injured. In 2002, Human Rights Watch stated that
Hamas’ leaders “should be held accountable for their war crimes and crimes
against humanity”. The facts above have led the United States
to label Hamas as a terrorist organization. Would that labeling be consistent under the
newly adopted Treaty?
Hamas violates Article 2(1) and 2(2)(A),
(B) and (C) of the Treaty in using “violent acts that are in
violation of the criminal laws of the state of Israel and are in violation of
international humanitarian laws that are intended; to intimidate or coerce a
civilian population, to influence the policy of another government by
intimidation or coercion and to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction,
assassination, torture, bombings and kidnapping.” But Hamas differs from Hezbollah in that they
are executing violence within the boundaries of their country. The organization is therefore not in
violation of Article 2(1)(D) of the Treaty,
which establishes that acts of violence by an organization should not extend
beyond their country’s boundaries. Hamas
utilizes methods of violence including assassinations, bombings, kidnappings
and causing mass destruction. These methods are to be considered under Article 4(1), (3), (4) and (5) of the Treaty. More importantly, Hamas frequently targets
the civilian population with rocket attacks and suicide bombings. Hamas’ targeting of the civilian population
violates Article 4(3)(C) of the Treaty,
which establishes that “the targeting of a civilian population in the use of
any bombing will be deemed a terrorist act”.
The organization, however, views their acts of violence as a legitimate
resistance against an oppressive government.
Regardless of whether the
organization is living under an oppressive government, Hamas’ fight against Israel is
fueled by religious fundamentalism. In that regard, Hamas is in direct violation
of Article 3(4)(b) of the newly
adopted Treaty. A quote from Hamas’
political bureau indicates the feeling of oppression, “Our problem is with
those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our
society and banished our people”. While it can be debated whether or not the
Israeli government is oppressive, there can be no dispute that Hamas’ actions
are dictated by their religious beliefs. This is evident in the 1988 Hamas Covenant,
which stated the organization’s goal was to “raise the banner of God over every
inch of Palestine
in order to establish an Islamic Republic.” Additionally, Hamas’ hatred towards the
Jewish population is portrayed in their Co-founder’s declaration that “the
Holocaust was a Zionist-Nazi collaboration for the purpose of encouraging
emigration to Israel.” Using religious fundamentalism as a reason to
overthrow a government is prohibited under Article
3(4)(b) of the Treaty and it therefore irrelevant whether the Israeli
government is oppressive or not.
Under Article 9 of the Treaty, there are other factors to be considered
in determining whether or not an organization is a terrorist. These factors are: 9(1) how the organization is funded, 9(2) what the overall goal of the organization is, and 9(3) the peaceful efforts made by the
organization to accomplish their goal. “According
to the United States, Hamas
is funded by Iran,
Palestinian expatriates and private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other Arab
states”. This information is because it provides
information of who is funding a potential terrorist organization. The goal of Hamas to overthrow the government
has already been ruled to be based on religious fundamentalism and thus, is in
violation of Article 3(4)(b). However, Hamas has also engaged in
peaceful political activities, including running candidates in the West Bank
Chamber of commerce elections. While the drafting committee recognizes the
peaceful efforts made by Hamas under Article
9(3) of the Treaty, the factors discussed above are too great to declare
Hamas a freedom fighting organization.
For the forgoing reasons, the drafting committee views Hamas as a TERRORIST organization.
International Labeling Tribunal’s Application of Treaty to Hypothetical
Positivania as a peaceful Nation:
Positivania is an independent and sovereign
nation with about ten million citizens. The
people of Positivanaia can live freely in this democratic country in having
voting rights, and entitlement to the general rules of due process. Unfortunately,
things are not going as well economically as they do on the political side. Positivania’s economy is relatively weak and
highly dependent on one region where all its mineral resources are located. This
region, which is called Minerich, has a strong economy and bright future. Nevertheless,
because Positivania is interested in having prosperity for all of its citizens,
Minerich is forced to subsidize the poorer parts of the country with a substantial
amount of money every year.
Beginning of the Insurgency:
This had never been a problem for a majority
of the population of Minerich, but in 1986 a small underclass minority of the
population started opposing the subsidy after the crash of the world oil price. Many people in Minerich lost their jobs because
of the recession that followed the crash. Instead of adhering to the subsidizing rules
of Positivania, the people of Minerich used the money to support those who lost
The people of Minerich were not allowed to
operate on the political level because the Constitution of Positivania forbids
the foundation of a party that has on the agenda to split the country. Some
people of Minerich started an insurgency in 1995 to oppose Positivania’s
They called themselves “Free Minerich Troops” (FMT). It
was the belief of the FMT that the Positivania government were oppressing their
people by enforcing the mandatory subsidizing policy. Furthermore, the FMT felt they were being
deprived of their due process rights in not being allowed to participate
politically in order to challenge the subsidizing policy. The
FMT’s biggest complaint was that the government of Positivania did not make any
effort to boost the economy other than enacting the mandatory subsidizing
Leader’s of the FMT attempted to reconcile the conflict by suggesting alternate
ways to boost the economy, but member’s of Positivania’s government were
fact, the Positivania government would arrest and imprison any members of FMT
that tried to broadcast the group’s economic ideas.
The FMT, having no more than some dozens of
members at the time, then started assassinating politicians who opposed the organization. The goal
of the assassinations was to frighten the community of people opposing the FMT. After the first assassinations in
1995, the police of Positivania seized some of FMT`s leaders.
Under application of the national criminal law, the ordinary courts condemned
most of them to life imprisonment.
Even tough the FMT was momentarily weakened through the sentences against its
members, the insurgency persisted.
To replace the loss of members the FMT started an intensive internet based
propaganda, which turned out to be a very effective and successful way to
recruit new fighters.
In 1998 the FMT had about one thousand fighters and in 2000 that number doubled.
The efforts of the police to defeat the insurgents were ineffective and the
situation in Minerich escalated. The FMT started to use other methods of
violence such as kidnapping politicians and bombing military stations. However, members of the FMT would not torture
the kidnapped politicians.
The kidnapped politicians would remain in captivity until a ransom was paid by
the government. If the ransom was paid, which sometimes it
was depending on the politician being held captive, members of the FMT would
distribute the money equally to citizens of Minerich.
Although the FMT used violence as a
tactic to scare the community, they never targeted the civilian population. The question before the ILT is whether FMT is a terrorist organization or a freedom
FMT violated Article 2(1) and Article
2(2)(A), (B), and (C) of the
Treaty in using “violent acts in violation of the criminal laws of Positivania
that were intended; to intimidate a civilian population; to influence the policy
of another government by intimidation; and to affect the conduct of a
government by way of assassinations, kidnappings and bombings”. The question then becomes, are these methods
of violence accepted because they are being utilized against an oppressive
Under Article 3(2) “an oppressive government is one in which the
government openly discriminates against a group of people because of their
race, religion, sex, etc. and furthermore, acts on that discrimination in
unethical ways”. Article 3(3) explains that acting on the discrimination in
unethical ways, “would include, but not be limited to, the government
authorization of executions, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of
humiliation”. It is the view of this tribunal that the government
of Positivania was oppressive towards the people of Minerich. The Positivania government enacted a policy
that forced the prosperous region of Minerich to subsidize to poorer parts on
the nation in an effort to stimulate the economy. While the enactment of this policy it not
necessarily oppressive, Positivania’s refusal to allow member’s of Minerich to
participate in a political fashion was.
The people of Minerich wanted to propose other ideas to stimiulate the
economy of Positivania, but were not granted the proper due process rights the
government afforded other citizens. So
while the Positivania government might not have discriminated against the
people of Minerich because of their “race, religion or sex” they did
discriminate against those people because of their wealth. By imprisoning the member’s of FMT which
spoke about alternative ways to stimulate the economy the Positivania
government was oppressive under Article
3(3). Although “opposition to
oppressive governments shall be deemed freedom fighting and not terrorism”
under Article 3(1) of the Treaty,
the methods of violence used by an organization are still to be considered
under Article 3(4).
organization used 3 methods of violence listed under Article 4. In assassinating politicians
of Positivania FMT executed an act of violence that is to be considered under Article 4(1) of the Treaty. However, the organization did not violate the
Treaty because Article 4(1) states,
“assassination of a leader/high ranking official is not permitted unless that
leader/high ranking official controls an oppressive government and the
assassination is conducted by freedom fighters from within the country’s
boundaries”. Additionally, FMT does not
violate Article 4(3)(C) in the
execution of bombings because they targeted military stations, not the civilian
population. Although the FMT
organization kidnapped politicians, they did not violated Article 4(2) because the politicians were not tortured. Furthermore, the FMT organization acted in
accordance to Article 4(4) because
they did not kidnap people from outside of their country’s boundaries. This tribunal certainly does not condone the
use of violence, but recognizes the serious ramifications that result in being
labeled a terrorist organization. For
this reason, the Tribunal feels the methods of violence utilized by FMT are
proper opposition to an oppressive government.
Under Article 9, other factors to be
considered in determining whether an organization is a terrorist include; how
the organization is funded; what the overall goal of the organization is; and
any peaceful efforts made by the organization to accomplish that goal. It appears that the FMT organization is
funded by the mineral resources which come from the region of Minerich. On the other hand, there is evidence that
part of FMT’s funding comes from the ransom money collected for the kidnapped
politicians so FMT is in violation of Article
9(1)(a). The goal of FMT was never
established, although it can be inferred that members of the organization
wanted their suggestions to stimulate the economy be heard by the Positivania
government. It also seems clear that the
FMT organization wanted to eliminate Positivania’s subsidizing policy for the
region of Minerich. These goals do not
violate Article 3(4)(b) which
establishes that “a goal to overthrow a government based on ideological or
religious differences is not permitted”.
There is also evidence of peaceful efforts made by the FMT organization
when its members attempted to operate politically and share ideas of how to
stimulate Positivania’s economy. This
fact should be taken into consideration under Article 9(3)(a). Having
already deemed the Positivania government to be oppressive and the methods of
violence used by FMT to be acceptable, this Tribunal sees nothing under Article 9 that would sway the characterization
of FMT. The Tribunal therefore
determines the FMT to be a FREEDOM
Lehi (group) “18 principles of
NATION. The Jewish people are a
covenanted people, the originator of monotheism, formulator of the
prophetic teachings, standard bearer of human culture, guardian of
glorious patrimony. The Jewish
people are schooled in self-sacrifice and suffering; its vision,
survivability and faith in redemption are indestructible.
HOMELAND. The homeland of the Land of Israel
within the borders delineated in the Bible (“To your descendants, I shall
give this land, from the River of
Egypt to the great Euphrates River.” Gensis 15:18) This is the land of the living, where
the entire nation shall live in safety.
NATION AND ITS LAND. Israel
conquered the land with the sword.
There it became a great nation and only there it will be
reborn. Hence, Israel alone has a right to
that land. This is an absolute
right. It has never expired and
of the nation
- EDUCATION. Educate the nation to love freedom and
zealously guard Israel’s
eternal patrimony. Inculcate the
idea that the nation is master to its own fate. Revive the doctrine that “The sword and
the book came bound together from heaven” (Midrash Vayikra Rabba 35:8)
- UNITY. The unification of the entire nation
around the banner of the Hebrew freedom movement. The use of the genius, status and
resources of individuals and the channeling of the energy, devotion and
revolutionary fervour of the masses for the war of liberation.
- PACTS. Make pacts with all those who are
willing to help the struggle of the organization and provide direct
- FORCE. Consolidate and increase the fighting
force in the homeland and in the Diaspora, in the underground and in the
barracks, to become the Hebrew army of liberation with its flag, arms and
- WAR. Constant war against those who stand in
the way of fulfilling the goals.
- CONQUEST. The conquest of the homeland from
foreign rule and its eternal possession.
- SOVEREIGNTY. Renewal of Hebrew sovereignty over the
OF JUSTICE. The establishment of
social order in the spirit of Jewish morality and prophetic justice. Under such an order no one will go
hungry or unemployed. All will live
in harmony, mutual respect and friendship as an example to the world.
THE WILDERNESS. Build the ruins and
revive the wilderness for mass immigration and population increase.
- ALIENS. Solve the problem of alien population
(the Arab inhabitants of Palestine) by
exchange of population (expelling the Arabs from Palestine and brining the Jews from Arab
countries to take their place).
OF THE EXILES. Total in-gathering
of the exiles to their sovereign state.
- POWER. The Hebrew nation shall become a
first-rate military, political, cultural, and economical entity in the
Middle East and around the Mediterranean Sea.
- REVIVAL. The revival of the Hebrew language as a
spoken language by the entire nation, the renewal of the historical
spiritual might of Israel. The purification of the national
character in the fire of the revival.
- THE TEMPLE. The building of the Third Temple
as a symbol of the new era of total redemption.